Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Linkabilia

* In More Penguins at "The Rhine River," Nathanael Robinson discusses Diderot's Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville, in a post that somehow manages to combine Tahiti, sexual customs, and frigid penguins.

* At "Jimmy Akin.org", Jimmy Akin discusses the use of the word 'Allah' by Christians in Ente bTaref `Arabi? -- it's astounding how odd people's presuppositions on this point sometimes can be.

* At "The Maverick Philosopher", Bill Vallicella discusses Occam's Razor and the Presumption in Favor of Metaphysical Naturalism.

* At "verbum ipsum" Lee has a series on liberalism and 'Radical Orthodoxy':
Liberalism Defended
Liberalism and the Challenge of Radical Orthodoxy (Part I)

* Jonathan Rowe at "Positive Liberty" points to a comment that compares the Mayflower Compact and the Constitution in thinking about whether the U.S. is a Christian nation. I'm not sure how far the comparison really gets anyone; the U.S. Constitution doesn't establish us as any sort of nation, but lays out a federal system for the States. The Constitution, unlike the Mayflower Compact, is not a 'charter for a polity' at all: it is explicitly a revision of an already existing constitutional framework. As such it presupposes as already-existing (1) the States; and (2) the Articles of Confederation. A real evaluation would require looking at both; but the approach is interesting. It's futile, I think, though; when people call America a Christian nation or a Judeo-Christian nation, they mean it regulatively, not constitutively. Like every regulative principle in our polity, it involves appealing to such aspects of the American heritage as conform to it, and ignoring or repudiating such as do not. We do it with democracy, liberty, and everything else; it's really not surprising that people do it with Christianity, or 'Judeo-Christianity' (or, for that matter, that people sometimes do it in denying that the U.S. is a Christian nation). In matters touching on the identity of the polis itself, history is what the polis makes it to be; or rather, the historical identity of the polis, being entirely a matter of what in history you emphasize, is whatever the polis makes it.

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